Apr 30, 2014

The Path to Hachimangu

 The path up the side of the hill was very unusual for an entry to a shrine. For a ways, there were houses on both sides and the fence kept people out, or maybe in.
 The stairs were typical in that they consisted of a log with two stakes driven into the ground at the end and then the space behind the log filled with dirt. These are easy to make and the materials are always at hand.
The final stairs to the shrine building, however, were stone, but not in very good shape.

Apr 29, 2014

Reaching Hachimangu

 I reached a main road and, according to my map, my primary goal for this walk, the Hachimangu, a Shinto shrine, would be found somewhere at the top of this tree covered hill.
 After recrossing the road and walking about 500 meters, I came to the entrance to the shrine. I have never seen one like this where the entrance goes through a hole in a long retaining wall.
I climbed the stairs and found my self on a long, narrow dirt path.

Apr 28, 2014

At the huge house

 I climbed up the stairs and looked into the yard. This is the front entrance to the house.
 I retreated down the stairs and walked around to the other side where the driveway went through the wall. I've heard that no one actually lives here, in which case I don't understand why there are so many parked cars. Supposedly the place is for sale but it is very expensive, considering the size of the buildings and the property.
I walked around behind the house and found this pleasant little scene.

Apr 27, 2014

Into Kasuga again

 This was a flower filled alley between houses. Some spends a lot of time making the view from the sidewalk pleasant.
 One of my first goals was a Japanese style house that I had observed from a distance but had not yet approached. From the design it appeared to be a huge private home.
This entrance looked more like the way into a temple but the building was not right so I was a bit confused.

Apr 26, 2014

Things along the river

 Walking along the path on the east side of Naka River, I came to a flat place with no buildings. There was a narrow road on the other side. It did not look like the usual empty lot for some reason. I little thought and I realized that it was not usual because the top soil had been scraped off of a section extending from the river to the road.
 Turning toward the river, I could see that it all made sense. They are building a new bridge. The support in the middle of the river is finished and some of the work on the foundations at either bank are nearly finished. The budget is, as is frequently done, probably spaced out over a number of years so that so that work starts and stops as it is done under various budgets. It is also normal to divide large projects like this up into separate parts with different companies doing each. This spreads the public funds around and helps the economy.
A little farther along and I looked down at a sandbar. There was what at first looked like a meter and a half long tree branch lying at the edge of the water. However, as I watched, it started to move. It was a large black snake. I was glad that I was standing on the top of the four meter high riverbank.

Apr 25, 2014

Flowers and photographers

 Flowers are starting to blossome
 and the world is becoming colorful again.
These three photographers were taking pictures of the birds feeding along a small stream. Since I do not have a high powered telephoto lens like they all have, I could not get pictures of the birds. Well, that is not exactly true. I could have taken pictures but the birds would have been so small that they would be about the size of the following periods ........

Apr 24, 2014

Some interesting buildings

This is a beauty parlor. The name Choki Choki is the Japanese for the sound that is made when you use scissors.
The house of many roofs. It would be a good locale for a novel.
This long driveway leads to a traditional Japanese style gate with a traditional home behind it.

Apr 23, 2014

It's not a temple, is it?

 I walked to the front of the platform to get a better look. The little stone building in the center had something in it so I went closer.
 On the right side was this statue, probably of a Bodhisattva and in middle were the ashes from incense.
 This says that this place is in commemoration of the war dead, with no indication of what war. At this point an old man and woman came and started cleaning up around the place. It was clear that my presences was not particularly needed so I left, thinking that I would return again after the trees were green again.
Back on the road, I looked back down the lane. The platform is on the right under the trees.

Apr 22, 2014


 On my way to Mirikaroden, the culture center where I take art lessons, I saw this yellow house. The panels on the roof convert sunlight into electricity. The last data that I saw said that this sort of installation would pay for itself in about 20 years and could be expected to be usable for at least 25 years. This is a great investment if you can find the money for the initial purchase and installation of the panels.
 When I reached Mirikaroden, I stopped to look at my classes' show in the lobby.
On the way home I noticed what appeared to be a stelae down a side road so I walked down to investigate. There was a large raised platform with a stelae and some other objects. To the right of the stairs, there was what looked like a place for offering candles. If that was what the little roofed object actually was, this is a Buddhist site and would be quite unusual.

Apr 21, 2014

Leaving Shirozu

 This was my last view of the lake as I turned north for home.
 The trees were still in bloom, so the walk home was quite pleasant.
A lot of the homes had landscaped gardens in front of them. This one was particularly nice.

Apr 20, 2014

Shirozu Lake

 This is the dam which created the lake. The observatory is behind the trees on the right.
 I stopped to look at some ducks and they seemed to think that I was going to feed them. However, I had nothing with me. The next time I plan to go to the park, I will try to remember to bring some bread for them.
This is the walking path along the north side of the lake. The building seems to be a large private home. Every few hundred meters along the path there were gazebos and benches.

Apr 19, 2014

Up the hill

 I finally found a steep path that brought me to the top of the hill. The first thing I found was this stone shrine.
 At the other end of the flat area was an observatory and a small support building. Three people were using a telescope to look at something in the sky. It was daylight so they could not have been seeing much. They greeted me but seemed very busy so I just responded and continued on my way.
From the top of the hill, I found a path that led down to the top of the dam. As with most of the larger dams in Japan, this one had a sign that showed the dimension and construction details.

Apr 18, 2014

Shirozu Park

 The contrast of  the natural rock and the symmetrical spirals of a work of art was extremely pleasing.
 This is Shirozu Lake. There is a large dam off to the right and two valleys are filled with water. Considering that it is surrounded by housing areas, it is quite large.
I got lost as I tried to find my way to the walking path over the top of the dam. The path I was on ended and there was no where to go except back. These trees were at the top of a four or five meter high cliff that was much too steep to climb.

Apr 17, 2014

Into Shirozu Park

 Along the road I saw this manikin. It was an ad for the store that it was standing in front of. I could not tell exactly what the store sells, but it looked like maybe knickknacks or something of the sort.
 Walking up a short hill and into the Shirozu Park, I saw these strangely shaped trees. Shirozu is the local pronunciation of the standard shiromizu, or white water. This is both a place name and a family name. There is a man in my Go Club named Shirozu.
This little landscaped area was very nice. I have always liked gardens with small streams that are enclosed by large rocks.

Apr 16, 2014

Another walk in Kasuga

 This is a very interesting place. The only sign identifying what is behind the door is the word Bar on the wall. If I still drank, I would be tempted to visit it at night to see what was inside.
 Outside an old shop, was this ceramic dog who was all dressed up with no place to go.
The cherry blossoms were still in full bloom on this day. This is the front yard of someone's home. There were three or four different species of cherry within a very small landscaped yard.

Apr 15, 2014

A neighborhood shrine

 Walking home from the culture center where I take my art classes, I stopped, just a few hundred meters from the center, to look at this interesting red building. As my eyes wandered around, I noticed that there was a small shrine in front of it, so I crossed the street to get a closer look.
 It was a little Shinto shrine and was obviously well cared for by someone in the neighborhood.
Inside was a stone. I could seen no sculpting and it appeared to be just as it had been when it had been picked up and moved here. My first thought was that it may have some history that makes it significant to the local residents who leave offerings.

Apr 13, 2014

A mysterious little altar

 This is the two car parking lot in front of a company. You can see the door and a sign on the extreme left. The large blue object is a drink vending machine and next to it is a blue trash can for empties. However, next to that is a strange structure.
Going closer, I discovered it was an altar holding a statue. The statue appears to be either a Buddha or a Bodhisattva, but I am not expert enough to be definitive. At the base of the statue are offerings of a sprig of fresh flowers and a cup of tea.